Evaluating Customer Engagement Approaches (Part 1) — Channel Effectiveness

by Xiao Yuhong

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Customer engagement

It is increasingly important to effectively engage your customers digitally in today’s world. Are you adapting with the right strategic choices of customer engagement approaches to create an edge for your business?

Looking at the Customer Journey, you will notice that most customer interactions happen either to achieve sales or to keep a customer satisfied after a sale. The abundance of options of customer engagement approaches for varying purposes (support forum, web chat and email as engagement channels for customer support; TV, radio and sponsorship as approaches to achieve marketing goals) means that enterprises deploy a combination of customer engagement approaches to support the Customer Journey.

To help you make the right strategic choice of customer engagement approaches, we have put together this article to help you answer the question: which customer engagement approaches are better?

Customer Journey

Engagement channels

In the evaluation of customer engagement approaches, we look at the medium of customer engagement (channel), the content of customer engagement (content) and also the overall approach. With it, we have the following considerations when assessing customer engagement approaches: channel effectiveness, content adaptability, and approach scalability. In part 1, we will cover how the effectiveness of customer engagement channels should be evaluated.

Is the channel effective?

We have identified three channel characteristics that are critical in the evaluation of the effectiveness of a customer engagement approach:

  1. form of message;
  2. mode of transmission (Interactivity), and
  3. customer base’s preference for the channel

Form of Message

The form of message describes the way in which the content is communicated. There are four basic forms of message: video, image, text and audio. The forms differ in sensory experience, richness and accordingly, appeal & ease of consumption (Media Richness Theory: video > image > audio > text). Video in this context covers all engagement channels that uses visual dynamism and sound. The term is loosely used here to also capture an aspect of face-to-face interactions.

Most traditional approaches have a dominant form of message while digital technology and real life in-person interactions deploy a combination of all forms. TV / YouTube uses the video form; Radio / podcast / Spotify utilizes audio; Advertising board, poster, and packaging are primarily image driven; support forum and user manual are in text form; a company website presents information in many forms (videos, text and images).

Customer Support Activities

When we look closely at the business function of customer engagement and the corresponding customer engagement approaches, we notice that video and image forms are commonly selected for before sales customer engagement. The appeal & ease of consumption that the form provides fits perfectly when we are trying to generate customer awareness.

Not surprisingly, a richer form of message usually correlates with higher cost. We can expect a video to be more expensive to produce as compared to a written article. As businesses commonly spend more on revenue generation activities, we commonly get a richer form of message for before sales customer engagement. This is why advertising is usually uses the video and image forms. For example, YouTube advertising, website advertisements, and advertising boards. It also explains why many companies uses Frequently Asked Questions on support sites and support forums, which are in text form, for post-sales customer support.

We understand that richer forms can be more expensive. However, to achieve highly effective customer engagement approach, we encourage an approach with a richer form of message.

Mode of Transmission (Interactivity)

In technical terms, this means if the approach utilizes a channel that allows for simplex or duplex mode of transmission. Or simply, it means if a customer can have an active interaction during the engagement (podcast vs phone call, FAQ vs chatbot). Most customer engagement approaches are not interactive or have limited interactivity, because the added complexity creates higher expense for the business.

The additional cost is not an issue when businesses are looking to generate revenue (before sales: create awareness, etc.). However, for after sales engagement approaches, using non-interactive (cheaper) customer engagement approaches sacrifices quality in the customer engagement experience. Specifically, the lack of interactivity makes it more difficult for customers to provide feedback and determine the direction of engagement. Without a personalized experience targeted at the customer’s intent, the customer might not get the necessary answers/information from the engagement experience.

Businesses on the other hand miss out on the opportunity to collect direct feedback from customers. The lack of customer insights makes it harder to refine the customer engagement message and design a quality customer engagement experience.

Always pick customer engagement approaches that are interactive!

Channel Preference

There is a natural inclination of your customer base towards certain customer engagement channels. For example, if you are marketing your product/service to customers in their twenties, selecting traditional physical engagement channels (TV, magazines, newspapers) for advertising might not be the most suitable. Even within social media channels, you need to figure out if Facebook, Instagram or TikTok is the preferred channel of your customer base. A good understanding of the general channel preference of your customer base is a good place to start for channel preference.

Another layer of complexity is added if you are looking to engage customers in multiple markets. Certain customer engagement channels are unavailable in certain markets (Google, Facebook Advertising in China) and some customer bases prefer a completely different engagement channel (Line is the most commonly used messaging app in Japan).

Mode of transmission and customer preference

Appealing, Interactivity, and Preferred

I hope you find our breakdown on how to evaluate the effectiveness of a customer engagement approach useful. Chat with us to see how we can help you create more value in your customer engagement approaches.

Evaluating Customer Engagement Approaches (Part 2) — Is the engagemen
t content adaptable? »